Analysis: Terps should be able to duplicate last season's record with an easier Big Ten schedule

Analysis: Terps should be able to duplicate last season's record with an easier Big Ten schedule
Maryland guard Melo Trimble (2) passes behind the back of Purdue Boilermakers center Isaac Haas to forward Jake Layman (10) during the second half in College Park on Feb. 6, 2016. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

As crazy as it sounds, Maryland has a decent chance of duplicating last season's 12-6 Big Ten record despite having a major overhaul to its roster, particularly losing four of the five starters.

Though that sounds a bit ambitious given the influx of several freshmen and the return of sophomore guard Dion Wiley after missing all of last season with a knee injury, the schedule, which was released by the Big Ten on Monday, should be a tad easier.


A lot depends on the development of the freshmen – in particular point guard Anthony Cowan Jr., shooting guard Kevin Huerter and forward Justin Jackson – as well as when and where the Terps play certain teams.

Based on the opponents for 2016-17, Maryland has arguably its easiest league schedule in the three seasons since leaving the ACC.

Consider this: Among those considered the top-tier teams, the Terps have to face Michigan State, Indiana and Purdue only at Xfinity Center and one, Wisconsin, only on the road.

And this: Of the five teams that the Terps will play home-and-away, three of their opponents (Illinois, Minnesota and Rutgers) finished at the very bottom of the league last season.

A lot will depend on when games are scheduled. Maryland's schedule last season, which was deemed one of the toughest, was made more difficult by the fact that the Terps played late-season road games at Purdue and Indiana.

While Maryland will be going through a rebuilding season after losing Robert Carter Jr., Diamond Stone, Jake Layman and Rasheed Sulaimon, several other Big Ten teams will be too.

Michigan State, which along with Wisconsin will likely be considered the favorites, has to replace Big Ten Player of the Year Denzel Valentine and should also have four new starters, all of whom might be freshmen.

Indiana has to find a successor to point guard Yogi Ferrell, the team's floor leader for three of his four seasons and the school's all-time assist leader, as well as forward Troy Williams.

Purdue loses the heart of its defense with the departure of center A.J. Hammons and shooting guard Raphael Davis. Iowa will also have only one fulltime starter back in Peter Jok.

Though Maryland might not be able to approach the 14-4 conference record of two years ago when Mark Turgeon was voted Big Ten Coach of the Year, the return of Melo Trimble and what is now a Top 10 recruiting class makes finishing 12-6 for a second straight year doable.

And, unlike last season, Maryland fans would be thrilled with that.

Maryland's 2016-17 Big Ten Opponents        

Home/Away: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio State, Rutgers

Home: Indiana, Michigan State, Nebraska, Purdue


Away: Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State, Wisconsin